The Oakland Raiders went into Sunday’s matchup with the New York Giants knowing they had a chance to hold part of the division lead after the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the New York Jets during the morning games.
With the Giants putting together a rebuilt team and facing questions about their head coach, it looked like the Raiders would be too much for them.
The Raiders defense came out to a quick start by forcing three consecutive three-and-outs against new Giants starting quarterback Geno Smith. Meanwhile, the Raiders offense started off to a quick start.
It took just three handoffs to Marshawn Lynch to get into the end zone, with the third coming on third down as Kelechi Osemele launched him through the offensive line for a 51-yard touchdown run to put the Raiders up 7-0 after their first offensive drive.
But the ensuing drives provided different results.
Head coach Jack Del Rio went for it on fourth and one on the next drive, but Lynch was knocked back for one-yard loss and turning the ball over on downs.
The Raiders pass-rushers came up with big plays when the Silver & Black needed them the most. With the Giants driving down the field, veteran Bruce Irvin got around the outside and strip-sacked Smith to give Carr an extra possession.
It looked as if Carr would give the ball right back as Giants safety Landon Collins jumped a route, but he dropped the ball. The Raiders would take advantage of the miscue with a field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio, giving the Raiders a 10-7 lead.
Late in the first half it would be reigning Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack that would save the Raiders after a miscue. Marquette King looked to punt the ball with under a minute but the Giants came flying through the middle to tackle him before he could even attempt a punt, giving Smith and the Giants first-and-gaol from the nine-yard line.
Looking to keep a 10-7 lead heading into halftime, Mack beat the right tackle and took the ball out of Smith’s hands to ensure the halftime lead.
The Raiders offense would continue to struggle with Amari Cooper out with injuries and Michael Crabtree suspended for last-weeks brawl with Aqib Talib.
Carr and the Raiders would finally get some rhythm in the fourth quarter after Beast Mode came up with a big gain. Facing a 3rd and 7, Carr dumped the ball off to Lynch who made a couple of men miss and then dragged a few more en route to a 21-yard gain and the Raiders first down. DeAndre Washington would cap off the eight-play drive with a nine-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 17-7.
But the Giants weren’t going to go down easily. Smith put together a drive of his own by going 88 yards on nine plays, finding a wide open tight end Evan Engram to make it just a field goal deficit once again.
Needing a spark from one of his playmakers, offensive coordinator Todd Downing dialed up the perfect play-call at an opportune time. Carr found Cordarrelle Patterson for a bubble screen but ran after the catch 59 yards to give the Raiders first and goal. Carr found Johnny Holton two plays later to extend the lead once again.
The Giants were forced to kick an onside kick after a field goal made it a one-touchdown game, but DeAndre Washington recovered it to give the ball back to Carr and the offense. Fittingly, it was Washington who ran the ball three-straight times to get a first down and run the time off the clock and secure the Raiders win.
The Raiders are now 6-6 for the season with a chance to make a statement next week in Kansas City. Oakland is tied for first place for the AFC West with the Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers, who have won their last three games.